cover image Polka Dot Penguin Pottery

Polka Dot Penguin Pottery

Lenore Look, illus. by Yumi Heo. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-375-86332-5

This spirited story from the team behind Uncle Peter's Amazing Chinese Wedding (Atheneum, 2006) is narrated by Aspen Colorado Kim Chee Lee (her nom de plume), a seasoned author who favors pigtails and bright A-line dresses. Aspen opens by describing her writing process, lining up words "like a fruit seller who chooses her best mangoes and pomegranates and bananas and puts them on display." But lately she's had writer's block. Thinking Aspen needs inspiration, her grandparents, GungGung and PohPoh, take her to a paint-your-own pottery studio, where she selects an egg to decorate. At first, Aspen just stares at the egg, but as she acclimates to the unfamiliar activity (and the partylike atmosphere that's building in the store) she finds that getting unstuck can be as simple as trying something new. The book is oriented vertically, with pages that open calendar-style, and Heo's illustrations feature creamy surfaces, peppy patterns, and swirling collages that include a miscellany of art supplies, cupcakes, balloons, and polka-dotted penguins displayed in playfully skewed perspectives. Creatively inclined readers may be similarly inspired to explore new methods and media. Ages 4%E2%80%938. (May)